Knitting, pattern design

Wedding and super-long super relationship history/saga April 15, 2010

Filed under: Life — burninhelen @ 8:31 pm

Originally, I started to post about 3 things, which turned into 4- so I’m breaking it up into separate posts. I used to write wildly and without abandon about my “personal” life. I don’t know why I stopped- Looking back at my old blog, I crack myself up! I think recently, I was like a mullet with the business up front- party in the back. That’s just not me really! I kind of like to do both at the same time so whatever, I do what I want!

For those of you who don’t already know- Jon and I are FINALLY going to get married, after like 20 years of good and bad, better and worse, sickness and health- see? We’ve already been there and done all that, repeatedly in many cases! We’re just going to make it official now, sorry but I have to say  again- FINALLY!

Okay- here comes the big saga- The adventures of Me and Jonny. He’s a huge part of my life and most definitely deserves his own post. I’m just going to warn you now, this is the abbreviated version (there’s like 23 years of history here!) so….. READ AT YOUR OWN BOREDOM! (otherwise, feel free to skip this one as it’s kinda mushy). I’m in love and I almost lost him….literally…forever.

Me- age 13 or 14.

Jon- age about 16.

The first time I remember meeting him was at a hardcore show, at the old Living Room in Providence. I was with my friend Mel, he was with Eric Tyler. They came up to us and were trying to pick us up. Jon’s big brother Chris was in this excellent band back then called Verbal Assault and they were playing an all-ages show, I can’t remember who was headlining. I DO remember this skinny kid telling me he could get me in for free (I had already paid to get in) because his BROTHER was the LEAD SINGER for VERBAL ASSAULT, blah blah! Mel and I, I think were more concerned about watching some great music than being bothered by 2 guys obviously cruising. That’s MY first memory of Jon. He doesn’t remember this, but I think that might be “selective”!

Maybe a year later, I was dating his friend, Jon was dating someone else- and he always brings up the story about how he fell head over heels the first time he saw me (THIS instance being the “first” time he saw me).  He remembers exactly what I was wearing, how my hair was, everything I said and felt bad because he wanted to be my boyfriend (awww!) but since I was with his friend… I, of course remember very little about this, but did always think he was cute. Apparently I asked him why he was always wearing black jeans.

Eventually Chris and I broke it off, and I think Jon and I re-connected at a big keg party (so 80’s!) in Narragansett. I told him that I wouldn’t go home with him or anything unless we were “seriously dating”. That seemed to work for him, and we went on to date for some time.

I fell irreversibly in love with him on this one warm summer night, I guess I was probably 15 at the time. We went to the drive in movies, then went swimming in this awesome reservoir in Newport. I can still remember the stars and it started to rain, but the warm, good kind of rain. That night seemed to last forever, I guess in order to last forever in my memory. BEST. DATE. EVER. And then it was all over for me.

Then we broke up, of course. The first time of MANY times to come.

Fate struck again at a show he was playing when he broke his guitar and a huge shard went flying across the room and right into MY shin. He was a freshman at college then, and embarrassed to pick me up from high school because he always thought that the older dudes picking up their girlfriends when he was in high school were losers. (for the record, he DID come to get me a lot, in his ghetto sled of a car which trust me, was waaaaay more embarrassing for ME then him)

So we dated in that dramatical end all be all way you go through only when you’re young (and subsequently) dumb. It was amazing and horrible all at the same time.

For a while, I moved in with him when I was 17- in a freezing house right on the beach. We were SO POOR! And COLD in the middle of winter. And it was mostly great (in that way it only can be when you’re young).  We were both extremely jealous- he couldn’t stand it if I even talked to a guy (but it was OK for him to talk to whomever whenever) and we fought over stupid things all the time. One time, it was snowing and I ran out barefoot down the beach and he followed me the entire way. For all the stupidity, we were also extremely close, and I think that may have actually been the weakest link. I think maybe we were both scared of that and grew suspicious that the other could possibly feel the same way. One of us had to love the other MORE, we couldn’t possibly love each other equally! . Personally, I could never live like that again! At this age now, I could NEVER re-live that and be happy, which I think in a way is kind of sad, but am mainly just glad to have had those experiences.

We all ended up moving to the city. Things changed, we argued more. Jon was dumb back then as far as I am STILL concerned. I would have married him regardless had he asked. We broke up because Jon was uhhhh- well he was a musician and there was no shortage of admirers on his end and you get the drift. Don’t worry though, there were no shortage on my end either! – I left him for Mark Arm (Mudhoney) which definitely was a hit below the belt to him even though it was not a petty or revenge relationship (Mark and I were pretty serious, I even moved to Seattle and in with him, now HE was older! By 11 years!). In a way, I was glad for him to see that someone who was constantly touring still managed to write me 20 page letters every day, call me every night (and talk until 4 am), and basically treat me the way that he just… didn’t! Jon lived down the street, but he was “busy” a lot. Let’s not even go there.

Jon actually came to visit me in Seattle and we got back together again for like 4 seconds. It was another wonderful and sad thing. To just KNOW something is right, but never going to work.  Then I moved back and we were on briefly then off again- this time for many years. We both met and married other people. Still, I always had secretly hoped that I would have married and had kids with Jon. And apparently, he felt the same- we just never thought the other one ever would. I remember it being pretty hard when I heard he was getting married, and to be honest, I just didn’t “get” it. (But, I actually am pretty great pals with his ex and we try to hang out every few months!) I am surprised that she put up with him for as long as she did, I sure wouldn’t have at that time.

No matter how much I tried, he always crept back into my life, my head and worst of all- my heart. His sister and I have always been extremely close, so I suppose that didn’t help…. always hearing about whatever he was doing at the time. Seeing him out was always like having a huge dagger in the heart too. I tried pretty hard to run in different circles. Him in Newport, Me in Providence- worked for most the time.

Then one night, after both of our marriages had taken a digger- I had called him just to say “Hi”. I swear! But- that was it, and we’ve been inseparable since. The next day he called at least 25 times. This time though, everything was different. Better. GROWN UP! …..except…..

When we first got back together though, he was a big drinker. He’s a pretty well known and respected musician here and basically did what many do- drink and play, play and drink. So realizing that it was a more serious issue literally brought me to tears. It was very painful to go through seeing someone you’ve loved for over 20 years shaking in the morning. I’ve never really been exposed to that side of anyone, never mind Jon.

Being a mother- I basically told him if he couldn’t stop, it was over. It’s not like he was any different, he was very functional, however- I just couldn’t deal with it. He cut way down on drinking, he went to detox- he really, really tried. One day his stomach hurt and gradually ended up doubled over. I took him to the emergency room, they gave him tylenol and prilosec and sent him home. Around 4 am, it was to the point he was seeing double. He said he felt like someone had shot him in the gut. I had no idea that he was THAT sick…. but he was diagnosed with  pancreatitis and almost died. The doctor’s told us “zero percent” chance of making it. I don’t really like talking about it too much- it’s still really fresh and tender and makes me incredibly sad. Below is a photo taken by his sister, in the hospital.

So he did pull through and is great now! He hasn’t drank since Nov last year, is handling sobriety excellently, and is the guy I always knew he could be and so desperately needed him to be . I know he kinda sounds bad on paper, but honestly- He’s amazing – you just have to meet him to know. EVERYONE, and I mean EVERYONE here loves him to death. He’s very nice and charismatic- always listens to everyone and genuinely cares. He’s the first to offer a hand to help even an acquaintance. He’s terribly smart, handsome and funny. If you don’t believe me, CHECK THIS OUT- He made the front page of the paper this weekend and yesterday we both  interviewed for another. So we both made the cover of the same newspaper – here’s mine (I’m on the right in red)

I have always been and will always be head over heels for him. And I’m blessed and lucky that he feels the same for me. I don’t think I could ever manage without him and wonder how I ever did before without him. I also never thought that we would ever be able to repair anything romantically, and yet I trust him with my life now. I think it’s a great and rare example that things and people really can change- for the better. And that if you want something, really want it- it can happen.  Maybe it’s not easy, but definitely worth it. Maybe someday I can sell the rights to Lifetime, who knows, so what, who cares! I’m glad that fate dealt this out in this time frame, we never would have made it before. I still am in awe that we’re back together, period. And minus all the drinking then almost dying stuff, I wish that everyone can have their own “Jonny”- I think it’s sort of rare and magical.

Fun photos of us below! (Someday, I’ll get round to scanning the reeeealy old ones and we can all have a laugh about me and Jon as punk kids in  the 80’s- also Jon’s teeny tiny frog legs in his pastel Vision skating shorts, or my many different colors and styles of shaved hair)


I’m a dot com! April 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — burninhelen @ 10:43 am

I bought my domain finally, only to realize that I need to move  wordpress.com to the .org version. I didn’t realize that when you have the .com version you can’t really do what you want appearance wise!
This is classic ME. I can not tell you how many times these sort of things happen to me. If it weren’t for bad luck, I would have none at all!
Sure, there are 85 templates I can choose from, but they are so… let’s just say “not me” or “not for me”??
I’m a bit anal about how things look, and I like what I like. Now, being technologically retarded, nothing ever looks the way I want it to, but I try to make it as close as I can.. So I am about to embark in another grey hair inducing lesson in life and blogging.
Once the hosting is ready (should have been last night, but ummmm where’s my email?… that luck thing again) I am moving the blog (and it’s contents, thank god there isn’t much) and placing it in a different set up. Now HOPEFULLY, things have changed since my last wordpress blog in which I had to beg and borrow from friends to help set that up. I hear these days you don’t have to know a ton of code. What would take a normal person maybe a few days to do, inevitably will take me a few months.
And that’s providing I can get everything over to the new one smoothly!
Luckily, the address will stay the same- the look of the blog won’t- thank god!
I’ve had a crappy week with the exception of Easter- I keep looking up at the sky asking “REALLY? No, really??!!”. I’ve had a shitty few years, and am waiting for it all to come to an end finally. The weather is keeping me intact, finally some warmth and sunshine.


New revised version of Lelah is up! April 4, 2010

Filed under: Designing 101,Lelah,Pattern Progression — burninhelen @ 11:19 am
Tags: , , , ,

Well, the 101 class has certainly lit a much needed fire under my ass! Our 1st assignment was concerning branding and making a pattern style sheet, something I had been sorely lacking and feeling guilty about for some time.
I really didn’t think that I would be able to figure out so much tech-related stuff in such a short amount of time, but I found that MS office is excellent and ended up using a bunch of features I had no idea were even there!
I slaved over this, literally for like a week- I even made my first chart! I stayed up until 5 am trying to get it just right. Sure there are a few things that I will do a bit differently next time and I am sure I forgot some stuff on there too!
Anyways, I hope you like it! So much thanks to Lelah, Carrie and Knitrawr, and of course Helen, my partner in crime. Also to Brandee, The Bell Sisters Ding and Dong, and most importantly to Shannon for everything. I’ve got such a wonderful support group that encourages me in the best way. Speaking of Shannon, I have NO idea how in the samhain she can manage all the stuff she does, that girl is a workhorse. I’m really looking forward to her new books that are coming out- one of them is going to be on tech editing!!! You can pre-order The Knitgrrl Guide to Professional Knitwear Design if you click on THIS. I can’t wait to read this. Umm, ps- Cooperative Press is also hers. I’m telling you, she’s a busy bee.

So about Lelah- I left blanks in the directions for you to fill in your math. I included the measurements you need to make and the math you need to do in order to fill in those blanks! I really think I made the process extremely simple, so tell me what you think!

It may be helpful if I include the link to Lelah (the top), yes? HERE!
Also, would you like to see more patterns set up this way?
I’ve been toying with the whole pattern writing thing and different ways of going about writing them.
2 ideas!
One- when possible (ie for less complicated items) I’d like to implement the same set-up as for Lelah, where I give you the math tools to make something custom fit to YOU.
Should I still include sizing? This would mean extra pages though- but you can always set your printer to print pages x, x and x to avoid ink wasting!
Secondly- What about keeping sizes separate? That way you only have to print YOUR size and won’t get lost or lose your place in the x{x, x, x, x} brackets- also an ink saver!
In some patterns, this may actually be an easier, more concise way- especially if the different sizes have differing directions or slight variation in directions.
In other news, after much frustrations, I finally registered as a .com. Even though Word Press now has a bunch of my money in credits that I probably can’t get back. Oh well. I am thinking about buying a theme thingy where techtards like myself don’t need to bother with insane coding just to change my background color.
Next, I’ll try to set up a shop and free patterns page! Wish me luck and cross your fingers for the techtarded one.

One last nice bit of news – Brandee keeps getting her submission accepted all over the place, so YEY! BRANDEE!!! (I’m very proud of her!)


Do you need DESIGNING 101? March 23, 2010

Filed under: Designing 101 — burninhelen @ 10:02 am
Tags: , , , ,

I have fabulous news to share! I have been chatting with the fabulous Shannon Okey of Knitgrrl and have somehow fanagled her to agree to teaching a DESIGN 101 class for people like me, who are stuck!

So you make your own stuff, that’s the sort of easy part- but what do you do with it? How do you take it a step (or 2, or 3) further? How do you write a great, concise, easy to follow pattern? How do you grade correctly? What about creating pdf’s, branding, selling, self-publish, shop to companies, and a zillion other questions you might have, that I have??!!

I find myself getting lost often with no real plan- I need a sort of “life coach” for knitting, hopefully you do as well. This will be an ON-LINE class and it is only going to cost you 65 dollars- How many books have you bought?? How much time and energy have you spent (and even wasted) researching, reading, trying out on your own? The cost of the class is less than it would take you to make a sweater!

I will be posting some more information shortly so stay tuned!

I’m still in a state of semi-shock myself over the incredible amount of LUCK I just stumbled into!


Tips and Tricks- swatches. March 13, 2010

Filed under: Tips and Tricks — burninhelen @ 3:38 pm

I have a lot of yarn. I do swatches with different size needles. I know some people like to do individual swatches with different needle sizes, but I like to use all of my yarn and to be honest, I’m lazy.

So the 3 tips and tricks of the day is……

1) I knit a good size swatch, about 4 x 4″, then successively go up a size, up a size and so on but I separate the size differences with a purl row. Also, this way I don’t lose swatches- it’s all right there on one. The swatch should be as big as you can stand for the best gauge, but that’s true for any swatch. I know if I started with a size 4 for example- and if there are 4 purl rows I know it went 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8’s.

2) Speaking of misplacing things, when I am done with the swatch, I BO until there is one stitch left- I pull the working yarn out to make a big loop and then I simply pass the yarn through this loop and then tighten (but not to the point where you can’t pull it out again!)- And then I have my swatch AND my yarn in the same place. When it’s time to knit, I take note of the gauge, frog it and cast on. Obviously I only use the loop-tying method if I am not going to knit with that particular skein immediately- I have lots of these laying around.

3) And if you would rather still BO your swatch, you can save it somewhere in case you need to use it for darning, if you run out of yarn for seaming, etc. It’s good to pin a piece of paper (or even the swatch onto a piece of paper) indicating which needle size you used and what the gauge was in that size.

Side note- I find it amazing that today is the very first day ever that an image of those wildly popular swatch watches came to mind when thinking of knitting swatches. You’d think that would have happened before now.

ANOTHER side note- I JUST got Sweater Design in plain english  (like 5 minutes ago, I kid you not) and aside from her opening page (which I easily could have wrote myself, it was so accurately close to my experiences)- I literally just read she uses the same method as me for the swatches! I was worried that people would be like “how can you get a true gauge” well MAGGIE did! I wrote this post as a draft March 6th, btw. I was about to publish it, but then made lunch- then got my package and how weird is that??


Crappy day.

Filed under: Uncategorized — burninhelen @ 12:31 pm

Not crappy for me, but the weather is all janet jackson about it, you can call her nasty. It’s windy, raining, gray, and c-c-c-cold! All this cold, wet weather is not lending itself to me feeling any better. I still have a hacking cough and clogged sinuses, which in turn is inducing pressure up there, leading to headaches.
But getting rid of the Ivy headache has done wonders for the pysche! I expected to feel extremely bummed out that I had put in so much time, effort, math, energy, frogging, re-knitting, frogging, frogging, frogging, frogg-….
But I feel actually kind of liberated and excited to get to work on the oh no. I’m just calling it that because it cracks me up.
I fell asleep knitting last night! I was watching Medium, because honestly, the show is shit but who doesn’t think Patricia Arquette is the cutest thing ever? (She won my heart in Lost Highway). And the next thing I know Jon’s delicately trying to remove the needles from my clenched hands. You should probably know that 99.9% off the time I can NOT fall asleep unless I’m laying down.
Then I got to wake up to Helena and Nia screeching with laughter, which is better than screeching at each other.
My order has still yet to arrrive! What the.. Hopefully today. Today is a great day to do what I do without feeling too terribly guilty about it. My hibernation period that I perform every year is almost up.
I bought a neat vintage columbia tourist bike from my friend Christine. 20 bucks!
I have to soup that up. The light is unattached, one of the brake cables is unattached, and the wheels are flat.
I also want to buy an old-school basket for the handlebars and maybe something to tote Nia around in on the back, although she’s almost 4 and nearing 50 pounds. Nia is more headstrong than me and will not ride her bike simply because we want her to.
In other news, I want to mention that my new friend Helen is amazing. It is SO nice to have someone to vent and share frustrations and support one another. She has amazing style and is seriously one of my saving graces lately. Helen- THANK YOU!!!!!!
I’m off to some mind numbing ribbing, cleaning, and showering. Have a good weekend to my 6 readers!


Ivy, I give up. March 12, 2010

Filed under: Pattern Progression — burninhelen @ 2:23 pm

After almost a month of wrestling with making this sweater do what it just doesn’t want to do, take out the fork.

So I spent pretty much all afternoon gauging and swatching, sketching, math-ing and stitch hunting.

I made 2 pairs of leg warmers around christmas time with an embossed leaf motif, and I really love it. Not to repeat a pattern TOO much, but I think it will lend itself as a nice detail to the sleeves. By the way, it’s going to be kimono-ish. This design has been in my head for a couple of years now, so it must mean I must make it happen.

I’m not sure what to do about the yarn though, I think I just hate this yarn! I’m in a big indecisive-ness rut lately, and frankly, I’m growing tired of it. Sometimes my ambition (and lack of) get the better of me. There wasn’t even a good learning experience in here, unless you want to count the fact that I already knew but did it anyway and should listen to myself the next time. But that would be telling me to quit and give up, in which had I just struggled a bit more, something might have given way and came out really neat!

So the kim-oh-no. Simple! (except the fact that I can’t leave anything be, and have to insert something in there that just doesn’t want to work, thereby re-inducing stress).

I just thought I would post and admit defeat. Hopefully my KP order comes in today. Maybe the gauge will be better with that yarn- Le SIGH.